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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | January 9, 1999
   

They Walk Amongst Us

Something shocking has come to my attention. At first I discounted it as mere coincidence, but after getting a second mail it now appears that .. somebody is usurping my identity!

From : Bob
Subject : Tribes fanatic was misled!!!!

Did I see you on a Tribes server the other day or was that someone just using your name. He SAID he was the guy who wrote for PQ...

For the record, I do not yet have a copy of Tribes as (to my knowledge) it is not available in the UK yet. Whoever this "Gestalt" is, he is not me. And when I get a copy of Starsiege Tribes I will hunt down this evil imposter and rip him limb from limb with my bare hands before reducing him to steaming gibs with a very large gun...


Ultra-Violence

And now, the debate on computer games violence... ;-)

My editorial on violence in games - "Old Blood 'n' Guts" - has already brought in a flood of mail on the subject. Here's a sample -


From : Patrick Kelly
Subject : I agree with your editorial.

Hi, my name is Patrick Kelly, and I've been playing computer games such as Quake, Wolfenstien and Doom for almost two years. I am only fifteen years old, and have owned a legal copy of Quake (I don't do warez) since I was 13. I find that this does take out my agression, and playing Quake would not make me take a shotgun and kill everyone I see.


From : Jordan Segall
Subject : A few words more on the matter of violent computer games

I am a 14 year old male. I am an avid Quake player. I have witnessed the strippers in Duke, the gibs in Quake, and the burning flesh of Postal, and I have absolutely no desire to kill or maim my fellow teens. Why? Because I have not been raised in an environment that advocates violence.

Games are a channeling of aggressiveness and a wonderful way to alleviate the rather harsh pressures of school. I firmly believe that the solution to the violence of today’s children lies in evaluating problems with out family structure. Parents must play an active role in protecting their children from questionable content. It is by no means anyone’s job to superimpose rigid guidelines without the interaction of the parent. The problem of societal violence will never be solved until we stop pointing fingers at games and start focusing on the problems of our families.


From : Jim Garretson
Subject : Re: Editorial

Just a quick thought re: games with unenforceable ratings ... the movie industry in America, contrary to popular belief, is not government regulated at all. It's all voluntary. Nobody seems to know this! Perhaps the gaming industry will pick up on the success of the movie ratings system.


From : [CPFF]OgreBiter
Subject : Reader's digest Article

I have been playing 'violent' games starting with the old 'Trek' thing for the C-64 and 'Shamus' (cool game) for the Atari, preceded by the classic non-computer game 'Battleship' (remember playing that in 4th grade in the '60's?). 'Battleship', for those who don't remember, taught you to imagine 'blowing up enemy ships' (did anyone tell you not to imagine blood, guts, and death in these same ships when blowing them up?). Not to mention 'Space Invaders' at the local emporiums that sprang up in the late '70's.

Now things are less imagination and more graphic, but I have yet to rape, murder, or dismember other humans as a result of these games I grew up with or from graduating to 'Quake' and 'TeamFortress' in my old age. Sure, there are people I would love to tape a MIRV grenade to then run like hell, or make them dance to the tune of a Railgun, but be serious: these are GAMES for crying out loud. Normal people know the difference.

Go to the neighborhood Pizza Hut, watch the juvenile delinquents massacre other 'human' beings in Mortal Combat, then see how many of them run out of the door foaming and attacking the passersby. Granted, a few do, but it's related to dope and gangs, not the damn game.

The whole subject is yet another manufactured news-machine ratings-grabber. Anyone with half a brain can dismiss this controversy as a cry for grocery-store sales receipts. Unless, of course, the other half of their brain was destroyed by violent video games.


From : Tim Johnston
Subject : Your violence editorial.

You know, I was really expecting a long, drawn out discussion of how it is ridiculous to have any kind of standards relating to portrayed violence in games. I really like your article because you haven't asserted too strongly on ambiguous points you can't prove, you just stuck to the facts and common sense.

I was initially surprised that you said games were a scapegoat, thinking that you'd like to portray gamers and game designers as some weak kind of martyr. Instead you pointed out that lame, practically contentless games like postal aren't really accomplishing any good for anyone except the developer who saw a sore spot.

Something else that bugs me personally is how (I really hope I don't get tagged as an extremist or anything for this, because I'm not) id put pictures of Jesus on the walls of some Quake levels. Now I know they are heightening the mood and all, but I think that it's unnecessary. No, I won't boycott id or anything, I just wish they could've put something else(geigerish or whatever :) ) instead of things like that.

I understand how some game developers try harder to put controversial content in their games when they hear about all of these outcries. I just wish that they wouldn't try to be either a Pain In The Ass to everyone they can OR a wimpy sell-out when a lame, bandwagon editorial gets published in a magazine or whatever.

No one should encourage someone who trys to constantly push the limits to where he can cash in or get lots of attention from the outcry, neither should anyone encourage someone who dumps a game idea completely because an ill informed, constipated, idiotic bandwagoneer says its evil without thinking twice.


From : Matt "Lazarus" Brickell
Subject : violence

It's about time somebody stood up and told everyone how it is. I agree with your take on computer game violence, and am grateful that someone of your standing in the quake community took the time to make the point you made. Hopefully the people who read your artical will learn something. Thanks again. :)


From : none
Subject : Video violence

As someone who has spent a year or two (not now thank god) being absolutely suicidal, and knowing a few people who did suicide, it is truly unfair to assert that suicide is _ probably_ a parents fault. In most instances it is not caused by a parent nor can it be prevented by one.

Apologies to anyone else who took offence from that comment.

On a lighter note, my mention of the classic "Barbarian" in the editorial brought in a couple of mails as well...


From : Matt Weekes
Subject : Blast from the 8-bit past..

I had totally forgotten about Barbarian! I used to play on my trusty old Amstrad CPC6128. Those were the days, that game was great until you got to the wizard guy at the end, jump, duck, jump, SMACK! Oh, that's it. Still had the two player game though......;-)

Hey-ho, fanks for da memories, big respect for the work on PQ, makes working lunches all the more bearable!


From : Pineapply
Subject : Just read your violence editorial...

And I would have to say, Barbarian is the rockingest game ever! Who needs Quake, eh? We can just fire up our copy of barbarian (or DeathSword, as my version on the apple II GS is called) and get to that hackin'...

Sorry, just had to let that out... I spent countless hours playing that game with my bro... Even with your different name for it, no one can forget that gobbo... Hehehe, he kicks the head... :)

Anyway, all I can say about that game, is ROCK! :) Reckon Bastard'll let me start up PlanetBarbarian? ;)

Hehehe, he kicks the head... :)

I'm sure most of you out there are going "Barbarian? Huh?" I guess you had to be there .. but seeing that goblin come on and kick the guy's head away was hilarious, and when I was playing my friend I always went for the head shot just for the satisfaction of getting that little animation.

Yeah, I'm sad...


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